web analytics

ImperatorFish: Spears Into The Sea

Written By: - Date published: 6:54 pm, January 31st, 2012 - 3 comments
Categories: law - Tags: , ,

Scott at Imperator Fish has kindly given us permission to syndicate posts from his blog – the original of this post is here

This morning’s New Zealand Herald editorial wades into the Megaupload case, opining that copyright laws need to be respected and enforced.

More disturbing than the global breach of copyright alleged in the charges is the belief among many users of such sites that the net is, or should be, a copyright-free zone.

The ability to share and exchange enjoyable material is one of the most attractive and commonly used features of the internet. Just about everyone joins in the free distribution of something everyday. When we click on a link or forward an email, we seldom pause to wonder whether the originator of the material has a property right.

Common sense should tell everyone the originator needs a copyright to be able to sustain the creation of such material but common sense appears to elude some of the internet’s enthusiasts. They regard pay-walls as an impediment to virtual democracy and a challenge to their technical agility. Yet the wealth we now witness at Coatesville suggests they are not evading all tolls on their traffic.

It may be argued that sites such as Megaupload provide a service that any originator of material could provide. The issue may be the price they can charge if they face none of the costs of original creation. It seems internet users are happy to send movies, music and other works they possess to a “cyberlocker” for faster transmission to their friends. Once the cyberlocker has the material it can be made universally available for a small fee.

As the home of Hollywood, popular music and indeed, the world’s leading software creators, the United States has more “intellectual property” to defend than most places. But countries such as ours should be unequivocal in their support of efforts to police global copyright.

Internet breaches should not be confused with parallel importing, which this country permits. Parallel importing is made possible when suppliers discriminate between countries and charge some a lower rate.

The internet is an instant global supply; it cannot discriminate between national markets.

The internet needs to protect intellectual property somehow. Unauthorised distributors of underpriced work can prosper only at the expense, and eventual death, of their golden goose.

I usually try to steer clear of the debate over copyright and its future. Because in my day job I deal with a range of people in the IP world, from creators and exploiters to potential infringers, I have the benefit of seeing the debate from a number of different perspectives.

However, the Herald’s analysis strikes me as too simplistic. it doesn’t take a genius to work out that with the increasing prevalence of digital technologies in our daily lives, traditional copyright protection models have become outdated. Is the answer really just to enforce the existing laws more aggressively and expect people to stop infringing?

The rise of the internet, and the ease with which electronic material can be replicated and shared, make it more difficult for owners of content to assert and enforce copyright. How does a content owner effectively enforce their rights when thousands of people can copy that content with just the click of a button?

In the pre-internet age, the potential for mass distribution of infringing material was limited, and most copying was on a small scale. Large-scale infringers were fewer, and the traditional models of enforcement (cease and desist letters, injunctions, damages etc) were often effective in dealing to the problem.

But in today’s filesharing age, illegal content can be downloaded in an instant. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people are happily sharing content created by others, in a way that violates copyright laws.

Responses to the challenge created by mass filesharing have been varied. Some industry groups argue that the law is the law, copyright infringement is theft, and people need to simply stop the illegal copying and distribution of other people’s content. At the other end of the spectrum are those who believe that everything should be available for free on the internet. In between are those who are happy with some form of copyright protection for creators and copyright owners, but think current copyright laws are outdated and overly restrictive.

Irrespective of where people stand, what seems clear is that mass copyright infringement will not go away soon. The Megaupload crackdown may look like a big deal, but such enforcement actions alone are unlikely to reduce the scale of the infringement problem. The actions taken by US authorities look more like Canute commanding the tides to halt; or the Roman emperor Caligula’s war against Poseidon, when he marched his army to the beach and commanded his men to throw spears into the sea.

What’s the answer? I have no idea. If I knew how to solve the copyright dilemma I’d be the richest person in New Zealand. However, it seems that a lot of people who infringe do so because the content they want is not available at a price they are prepared to pay. A lot of people have expressed frustration at not being able to access their favourite TV shows, because the official sites often prohibit downloading from particular countries or regions. In other cases users are prepared to pay something for the material, but believe the price being charged is too high. In such cases it could be argued that the biggest problem lies with traditional distribution models simply failing to adapt to meet consumer expectations.

None of this is an effort to excuse what is in the end illegal behaviour, nor is it an attack on traditional forms of enforcement. I should make it clear that I have no issue with individuals or corporations wanting to enforce their rights in content. But if copyright owners want to reduce the volume of infringements taking place, they must also understand the reasons why people choose to illegally download content. It is not enough just to enforce existing laws.

If people will continue to smoke or drive too fast, despite the very real and proven dangers to their well-being, should we really be surprised that people ignore the calls not to illegally fileshare? Especially when the technology to do so is readily available, when the chances of infringers being caught are small, and when the actual harm caused by an infringing act is difficult to quantify.

The enforcement of existing copyright laws alone will not hold back the rising tide of filesharing. The Herald’s editorial offers nothing useful to the copyright debate.

3 comments on “ImperatorFish: Spears Into The Sea”

  1. shorts 1

    that herald editorial bugged me alot – everyone is acting like Mr Dotcom is guilty, unless some law change went through under urgency he’s still innocent until proven guilty

    cleverer types than me are suggesting he has good grounds for a defence

    http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/node/6795

    meanwhile U2’s manager has just lashed out (as is his habit) at google over enabling file sharing

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/technology-gadgets/u2-manager-paul-mcguinness-lashes-out-at-google-over-music-piracy-sites-16111140.html

    I dunno what the answer is but attacking windmills is not a solution that will work out well for anyone but lawyers

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    In such cases it could be argued that the biggest problem lies with traditional distribution models simply failing to adapt to meet consumer expectations.

    Actually, the problem lies with a few people wanting to maintain a monopoly that’s made them very rich from other peoples work. As the article I linked to over on Open Mike says the internet and computers have combined to produce far more content than ever before and people are making a living from it. What we hear in the MSM is the traditional distributors whining about the fact that they are no longer useful and are being put to the side which they don’t like as they can no longer milk their cash cow.

    If I was to release a movie it would have a copyright notice something like this:
    1) You have the right to copy and distribute this movie in it’s entirety without change including this copyright notice. Hell, you can even charge for it if you can find anyone silly enough to pay you.
    2.) If you like the movie please drop by at [site] and drop us a couple of dollars.

    Then I’d release it via BitTorrent, Youtube and other social networking applications.

    One thing I’m quite sure of – we no longer need Warner Brothers or other similar companies.

    Here, have a movie. Freely available but, considering the almost 3 million views, I suspect that they have a reasonable income from it. Neither the actors nor the distributors need multi-million dollar incomes. Here’s some more.

    The traditional IP laws, both patent and copyright, need to be seriously reworked as they no longer work. IMO, they’re actually holding us back as they lock people out of developing ideas.

  3. Eddie 3

    in fairness to poor maligned Canute, he was proving to sycophantic courtiers that he COULDN’T hold back the tide.

    Also, your title reminds me of Rammstein’s Reise Reise

    “Auch auf den Wellen wird gefochten
    Wo Fisch und Fleisch zur See geflochten
    Der eine sticht die Lanz’ im Heer
    Der andere wirft sie in das Meer ”

    “Even on the waves there is fighting
    Where fish and flesh are woven into sea
    One stabs the lance while in the army
    Another throws it into the ocean”

    Also, great post and important points. ‘Getting tough’ is often the last resort of defenders of broken models.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • National Does the Nation a Disservice
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters today called for National Party and Opposition leader Judith Collins to stop undermining democracy. “New Zealanders are sadly being fed a steady stream of misinformation about the pre-election period from the National Party,” said Mr Peters. “Its effect is to sow doubt about the legitimacy ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Speech at the graduation of Wing 340
    Graduation of Wing 340 2pm, 13 August 2020, The Royal New Zealand Police College [CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY] Introduction Ladies and gentlemen, it is a privilege to be here today to celebrate the graduation of Wing 340. Let us begin by acknowledging the presence of Coalition Government colleague, Police Minister the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Transitional housing provides much needed support for Taumarunui whānau
                                                                     Transitional housing provides much needed support for Taumarunui whānau   New emergency and transitional homes will help ease a housing shortage in Taumarunui and provide whānau with much needed support, say Māori Development Minister, Nanaia Mahuta and Whānau Ora Minister, Peeni Henare.  The Ministers officially opened five two-bedroom units ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Government announces plan to tackle problem plastics and seven single-use plastic items
    Following the success of the phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags, the Government now has plans to phase out more single-use and problem plastics to reduce waste and protect the environment announced Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage. The proposals are to phase-out: some hard-to-recycle PVC and polystyrene ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New opportunities for Kōpū marine facilities
    A commercial and industrial site in Thames-Coromandel will receive $8.2 million to revamp its marine-servicing infrastructure and create new economic development opportunities, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has announced. This project is being supported from the $3 billion ‘shovel ready’ fund set aside in Budget 2020 to kick-start the post COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • PM comments on Auckland COVID-19 case
    After 102 days we have our first cases of Covid-19 outside of a Managed Isolation or Quarantine facility in New Zealand. Shortly I will ask Dr Bloomfield to set out the details of the case. While we have all worked incredibly hard to prevent this scenario, we have also planned ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Significant investment in Raukūmara Pae Maunga to prevent Raukūmara forest collapse
    An iwi-Crown approach programme to restore the Raukūmara forest on the East Coast of the North Island and boost employment opportunities for whānau, particularly rangatahi/young people, will receive $34 million funding, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has announced. “Raukūmara Pae Maunga is a partnership with Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Ngāti Porou, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New partnership central to delivering more Māori housing
    Government agencies and partners are working closer together to provide more Māori Housing through the Te MAIHI o te Whare Māori – the Māori and Iwi Housing Innovation Framework for Action (MAIHI). MAIHI is a kaupapa Māori approach that drives a system change to give effect and impact on Māori ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Manawatū Gorge replacement highway drives forward
    Site work is soon to begin on Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway, the project to replace the former SH3 route through the Manawatū Gorge, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Phil Twyford was today in Woodville at the signing of a formal agreement by members of the Alliance ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Pacific Ministers meet to discuss regional economic priorities
    The Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) begins today and will focus on the major economic and social impacts of COVID-19 on the Pacific.  FEMM is an important congregation of Economic Ministers and senior officials from around the region, and for the first time, the annual meeting will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Formal apology and payment to George Nepata
    Cabinet has approved a formal apology and ex gratia payment to former soldier George Nepata, announced Defence Minister Ron Mark. This payment is to recognise the New Zealand Defence Force’s failure to provide Mr Nepata with a safe system of work in April 1989 when, as a result of an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Report into Iain Lees-Galloway’s expenditure
    A report undertaken by Ministerial Services into Iain Lees-Galloway’s ministerial expenditure has found no evidence of any inappropriate transactions or spending. Ministerial Services undertook a line by line review of all his expenditure, including staff and spouse expenses for the period 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2020.  “I commissioned ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Managed isolation charges to start 11 August
    Managed isolation charges for returnees will come into force from 12.01am Tuesday 11th August, after they passed their last cabinet milestone today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. “The new charging system balances the rights of New Zealanders to return home and helps reduce pressure on the managed isolation and quarantine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Update on New Zealand and the Cook Islands travel bubble
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Henry Puna have welcomed the completion of phase one in the establishment of a travel bubble between New Zealand and the Cook Island. Negotiations on the text of an ‘Arrangement to Facilitate Quarantine-Free Travel ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • One-stop ‘jobs and training’ shop goes live
    The Government has launched a new online, phone and onsite service to help New Zealanders connect to a range of employment support and products for workers and businesses affected by COVID-19, announced Minister of Education Chris Hipkins and Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. Connected.govt.nz is a one-stop-shop for jobseekers, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • MSD security guards to be paid Living Wage
    Security guards contracted to the Ministry of Social Development will be paid at least the Living Wage from next month supporting the Government’s commitment towards fair pay and employment conditions, announced Minister for  Social Development Carmel Sepuloni.   “MSD was  among the first government agencies to pay its employees the living ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New strategy to ensure nature thrives
    The Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today launched Te Mana o te Taiao, the Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy - a way forward that envisions Aotearoa New Zealand as a place where ecosystems are healthy and resilient, and people embrace the natural world. “Many of New Zealand’s plants and wildlife species ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Provider Languages Fund will support Pacific Wellbeing approach
    “Pacific languages, cultures and identity are essential to the health, wellbeing and lifetime success of our Pacific peoples and their communities in Aotearoa. The strength and resilience of Pacific Aotearoa is not only vital to their own prosperity but integral to the prosperity of all New Zealanders, and is particularly ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19: More funding for schools and boost to construction sector
    ·       $38 million to help schools cover unexpected costs related to COVID-19 ·       $69 million upgrade for online learning ·       $107 million contingency funding to support school construction suppliers facing additional costs due to the lockdown. The Government is releasing $214 million from the COVID-19 response and recovery fund to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Stay safe on the tracks – Rail Safety Week
    Despite the Government installing safety upgrades around the country, people should still take care around rail crossings, said Transport Minister Phil Twyford launching Rail Safety Week. Phil Twyford said installing safety infrastructure is crucial, but we are encouraging people to be more careful around trains too. “We’re making good progress ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government backs Manawatū social housing project
    The Government is providing a cash injection to help Palmerston North City Council complete a programme to provide 78 social housing units for vulnerable tenants. The $4.7 million to build 28 units in the Papaioea Place redevelopment comes from the $3 billion set aside for infrastructure in the Government’s COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Major funding boost for Predator Free Banks Peninsula
    A pest free Banks Peninsula/Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū is one step closer with a $5.11 million boost to accelerate this project and create jobs, announced Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage in Canterbury today. “This is a game changer for this ambitious project to restore the native wildlife and plants on Ōtautahi/Christchurch’s doorstep ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Major investment for indoor sports in Hawke’s Bay
    A Government grant of $6.4 million will expand the Pettigrew Arena in Taradale with new indoor courts of national standard. “The project is likely to take 18 months with approximately 300 people employed through the process,” Grant Robertson said. “The expansion will increase the indoor court space up to 11 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New infrastructure for Far North tourist town
    The Far North tourist destination of Mangonui is to receive Government funding to improve waterfront infrastructure, open up access to the harbour and improve water quality, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has announced. A total of $6.5 million from the $3 billion set aside in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government remains committed to Women’s Cricket World Cup
    The Government has re-affirmed its commitment to supporting the hosting of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, which the ICC has delayed from 2021 to 2022. “This is obviously a disappointing decision for cricket players and fans around the world and for the White Ferns and their supporters here at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Green light for Te Awa River Ride in $220m nationwide cycleways investment
    Cyclists and walkers will now have a safer way to get around Taupō, Tūrangi, and between Hamilton and Cambridge, with funding for shared paths and Te Awa River Ride, Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter announced today. “The Te Awa River Ride is the latest part of massive growth ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Six major ‘shovel-ready’ cycleways funded in Christchurch
    Six major cycle routes will be completed in Christchurch thanks to funding from the Government’s investment in shovel-ready infrastructure as part of the COVID-19 recovery Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter announced today. $125 million will be invested to kick-start construction and fund the completion of the following cycleway ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Police facilities for Whanganui
    Plans are underway for a brand new state-of-the-art hub for Whanganui’s justice and social agencies, following confirmation the ageing Whanganui Central Police Station is to be replaced. Police Minister Stuart Nash has announced $25 million in new infrastructure spending to improve facilities for the wider community, and for staff who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Relativity adjustment for Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu
    An adjustment payment has been made to Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu under the relativity mechanisms in their 1995 and 1997 Treaty of Waitangi settlements, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little announced today. The latest payments to Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu are $2,700,000 and $2,600,000 respectively to ensure the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Auckland rail upgrades pick up steam
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Transport Minister Phil Twyford today kicked off the start of the Auckland NZ Upgrade Programme rail projects which will support over 400 jobs and help unlock our biggest city. Both ministers marked the start of enabling works on the third main rail line project ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • PGF support for Wairoa creates jobs
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment of $3.78 million in Wairoa will create much needed economic stimulus and jobs, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. PGF projects announced today include: $200,000 loan to Nuhaka Kiwifruit Holdings Ltd (operated by Pine Valley Orchard Ltd) to increase the productivity ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Public and Māori housing to trial renewable energy technology
    Tenants in public and Māori housing may be benefiting from their own affordable renewable energy in future – a fund to trial renewable energy technology for public and Māori housing has today been announced by Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods and Associate Minister for Housing (Māori Housing) Nanaia Mahuta. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • $2.7m for Hokianga infrastructure
    Hokianga will receive $2.7 million to redevelop four of its wharves and upgrade its water supply, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. Far North District Council will receive $1.8 million from the Provincial Growth Fund for the work on the wharves. “The work will include the construction of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New fund to support housing and construction sector
    A $350 million Residential Development Response Fund is being established to support the residential construction sector and to minimise the economic impact from COVID-19, the Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods has announced. “The Residential Development Response Fund will help to progress stalled or at-risk developments that support our broader housing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government investment to boost Auckland’s community recycling network
    As part of a broader plan to divert waste from landfill, the Government today announced $10.67 million for new infrastructure as part of the Resource Recovery Network across the Auckland region. “This key investment in Auckland’s community recycling network is part of the Government’s Infrastructure Reference Group ‘shovel ready’ projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Te Papa transformation starts at Cameron Road
    The Government is investing $45 million in the first stage of an ambitious urban development project for Tauranga that will employ up to 250 people and help the region grow, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says the funding has been allocated out of the $3 billion ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Low-emissions options for heavy transport a step closer
    Getting low-emission trucks on the road is a step closer with investment in infrastructure to support hydrogen vehicles, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. The Infrastructure Reference Group has provisionally approved $20 million for New Plymouth company Hiringa Energy to establish a nationwide network of hydrogen-fuelling stations. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New training centre to upskill workers
    A new trades training centre to upskill the local workforce will be built in the South Waikato town of Tokoroa through funding from the Government’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. The Government will contribute $10.84 million from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Subsequent children legislation to change
    The Government has agreed to repeal part of the Oranga Tamariki Act subsequent children provisions, Minister for Children Tracey Martin announced today. “There are times when children need to go into care for their safety – the safety and care of children must always be paramount,” Minister Martin said. “But ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Funding to expand mental health support for Pacific peoples
    A $1.5 million boost to grow primary mental health and addiction services for Pacific peoples in Auckland, Hamilton and Canterbury will lead to better outcomes for Pacific communities, Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa says.  Pasifika Futures has received funding to expand services through The Fono, Aotearoa New Zealand’s largest by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago